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Sports collectors show draws 800 to West Valley Inn
Warwick Beacon photo by Pete Fontaine
A TOP DEALER: Kent County resident George Bowen II (third left), who is known as one of Rhode Island’s top sports memorabilia dealers, is joined by his father George Bowen Sr., Courtney Larcher and brother John Bowen during Saturday’s Cranston Sports Collectors Show. The group staffed 10 eight-foot-long banquet tables that featured dozens of sports items and backed by valuable and framed photos and apparel that was hung on the walls.

West Valley Inn, known for its Soup ‘n Sauce as well as countless social functions, took on a totally new look for seven hours Saturday.

Instead of waiters and waitresses working a banquet or wedding, a scaled-down staff supplied food for vendors, dealers and buyers during the 38th annual Cranston Sports Collectors Show sponsored and hosted by the St. Joseph Men’s Build of Immaculate Conception Church.

“Despite some serious competition, we had another successful show,” said Tom McDonough, the founder and chairman. “We also had upwards of 800 people come through the door and all of the 60-plus vendors were thrilled with the day’s outcome.”

The show, as McDonough noted, wasn’t the sole social and sports event of the weekend.

“Many people flocked to downtown [Providence] to view the Boston Red Sox World Series trophy,” said McDonough, a diehard Red Sox fan. “There was also an ‘America’s Got Talent’ tryout that attracted lots of ambitious actors and actresses.”

Despite those two events, the Cranston Sports Collectors Show had vendors whose goods were displayed atop 112 eight-foot-long banquet tables that occupied the Triple Crown and Garden Rooms.

Some people came to the show to buy and sell sports cards, while others shopped for valuable memorabilia, such as a framed and signed action photo of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Everything and anything a sports fan, collector or dealer/seller wanted was available. All proceeds from the show, including a special raffle for many prizes that were donated by vendors, go to the sponsoring St. Joseph Men’s Guild and Immaculate Conception Church located off Oaklawn Avenue in Cranston.

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